How to Write a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is an essay which tells a story. This means that every author who is writing a narrative essay has to share their experience or memories from their own life, or sometimes retell a story from the third party. In its completion, a narrative essay is a story-telling article with has its plot, culmination, and ending.
In comparison to a descriptive essay, which is more of a “how to do” or “how does it look like” essay, a narrative essay also answers the question “how”, but it looks more like a complete story, not just a description of a particular experience.

Write a Narrative Essay in Five Steps

1. Choose the experience to share (story to tell).

      It can be an experience from the past, from a real situation an author faces, or one they have heard from others. Keep in mind that this story should give your readers some lesson to learn in the final part of your essay.
      Remind yourself of your childhood, your college years or your first steps into your career. This will help you to prepare yourself for storytelling.

2. Make an outline.
Even though this essay is essentially a story, we highly recommend you to write an outline for your essay. The outline will include the plot, main characters, the setting, the climax (culmination) and the ending. This will help you to write your essay properly.

3. Write down your body paragraphs.
Keep in mind that this is not an academic paper – the more details you provide for your readers concerning your story, the better. Describe the personalities you mention, locations and so on. This will help your potential readers to imagine the what, where, who, and why of the story.

4. Conclude your essay.
Your goal is to conclude your essay in a way that your readers will understand the story’s significance and the lesson it gives. Of course, it does not mean you should write the lesson directly, but it should look obvious for your readers.

5. Proofread your essay.
Naturally, each decent essay has to contain no syntactical or grammatical mistakes. Before submitting the paper to your professor, read it several times and correct where it is needed.

Useful Tips for Narrative Essay Writing

  • The first and the most important tip is to remember that you’re writing a story, not just an essay. So your thoughts should flow in an appropriate order. You can begin with a short explanation of why you chose a particular story to tell and end your writing providing a lesson to learn from your story.
  • It is advisable to start your essay with an interesting quotation or even phrase from a popular movie or song – this will instantly intrigue your readers and make them want to read further.
  • Avoid long-winded sentences, especially in your introductory paragraph.
  • When writing your body paragraphs, make sure each paragraph is about one particular message. Don’t put all of your thoughts in one paragraph – develop your plot step-by-step.
  • Also keep in mind that this type of essay requires that you write from your own point of view, so use appropriate words to express your own mindset.

Now you know the main rules and tips of narrative essay writing. To have a clearer understanding how a narrative essay should be written, check out our narrative essay examples.

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